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'We should have it all year round!' Space Chase reading challenge ends on a high

The Summer Reading Challenge has finished for another year. Over 8,000 children took part in Suffolk, reading a total of 96,167 books over the summer holidays.

The challenge encourages children to read six books of their choice from the library over the long school break to improve their confidence and enjoyment of reading for pleasure.

The number of children signing up for this year's challenge marked an increase of 9 per cent on 2018's total. Suffolk children read 18,261 more books this summer than in summer 2018, and 25 per cent more children signed up for library cards over the same period compared to last year.

Suffolk Libraries head of service delivery Krystal Vittles said: "We're thrilled that so many children have taken part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge across all of our libraries and that it continues to be a high-profile campaign. Reading is one of the most important life skills and it is easy for children to regress over the summer unless they are supported with their reading.

"One of the best ways in which parents can help their children maintain an enthusiasm for reading is participating in this challenge. We’re so thankful to our staff and amazing volunteers for their dedication and enthusiasm in making this year another success."

All 44 libraries have now hosted their Summer Reading Challenge presentation, handing out medals and certificates to children who read six books. Highlights from the ceremonies includes a visit from children's author Nick Butterworth at Aldeburgh Library and a specially-recorded video from an ex-NASA astronaut at Bury St Edmunds Library.

Lisa Jillett, whose son Henry took part in the Summer Reading Challenge at Ipswich County Library this year, said: "The Summer Reading Challenge allows Henry to focus on his reading. It’s a really good challenge, we should have it all year round!"

The Summer Reading Challenge is run annually by The Reading Agency with a different theme each year, with this year’s being Space Chase to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the countrywide campaign.